Published June 21, 2013
Not only did the former IRS commissioner visit the White House dozens of times during his tenure, but his chief of staff was reportedly making those visits even more frequently.
The Washington Examiner reported Friday that Jonathan M. Davis, the chief of staff for former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, appears to have visited the White House campus up to 310 times between late 2009 and early 2013. Sources told the Examiner that Davis, who had little background in tax policy, largely served as a political aide.
It's unclear what he was doing at the White House all those times. Shulman, during a hearing on Capitol Hill last month, tried to explain his own frequent attendance at White House meetings. He said he was there for everything from policy meetings to "the Easter Egg roll with my kids."
But the sheer number of visits for Shulman -- and now his aide -- raises questions amid the fallout over the agency's practice of singling out conservative groups for additional scrutiny.
Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson has said he rarely went to the White House. And White House records show other top administration officials did not visit the grounds nearly as much.
The Examiner based its reporting on White House visitor logs. The logs only show a time of arrival for 85 visits, so it's possible Davis did not attend some of the other 225 meetings. Some of the meetings were at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House.
For his part, Shulman apparently visited the White House nearly 120 times during the time period when Tea Party and other groups were being targeted for extra vetting. The Daily Caller reported last month that he visited at least 157 times since 2009.
Former IRS officials have testified that the scrutiny of conservative groups, while inappropriate, was not politically motivated.
Though IRS workers have come forward to acknowledge the involvement of Washington IRS officials in the program, Democrats have stressed that nobody has demonstrated White House involvement.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the House oversight committee, wrote in a letter earlier this month there is "no evidence" the White House was involved in "any way."